TORONTO — Intel of Canada Ltd. is preparing its mobile processor line for increased wireless integration between devices, but one of its customers says it will take some time before the technology is ready for mainstream enterprises.

The chipmaker Tuesday released three additions to its Pentium 4 Processor-M line, including 1.4 GHz, 1.5 GHz and 1.8 GHz versions. Major notebook makers including Dell, IBM, Compaq, HP and Toshiba all demonstrated machines equipped with the chip at a launch event in downtown Toronto. Intel executives claimed the chips would offer up to 88 per cent better performance as well as optimizations for enhanced security business imaging and collaboration applications.

Intel had turned the building used for the launch into a “”wireless hot spot,”” where vendors could demonstrate the chip’s capabilities on their products. For example Chris Matto, a product manager for Toshiba of Canada, showed how a spreadsheet file on a PocketPC handheld could be transferred wirelessly into its Tecra 9100 through 802.11b or other wireless technologies like Bluetooth. Matto then unplugged the Tecra’s AC adapter and showed how a PowerPoint presentation could be transferred and displayed on a projector.

“”What we’re seeing is that wireless is becoming part of the platform,”” said Doug Cooper, Intel’s Canadian country manager. “”Right now we still have a lot of situations where (laptops) are still tethered somehow. As that changes, things like battery life, weight, size and shape all become more important.””

Cooper called up the hardware vendors one by one to show ways in which devices could be integrated and provide users more functionality in hotels, taxicabs, airports and even places where many executives spend the bulk of their time. “”We have so many meetings in boardrooms, but the boardroom hasn’t really been connected yet,”” he said. “”We need to be able to take the results of those meetings and disseminate them out to the rest of the organization.””

Pentium 4 Processor-M users include the Toronto offices of Deloitte & Touche, where approximately 85 per cent of the employees use notebooks. Malcom Campbell, Deloitte’s CIO, said while the company is “”exploring”” use of personal digital assistants, it has yet to fully embrace the wireless opportunities Cooper described.

“”Wireless works well on a large campus,”” he said. “”But if they’re not in the office, there are still some issues there. I think we’re still six to 12 months away from seeing that (in the enterprise).””

Campbell said Deloitte leases notebooks for two years. Each year, however, the company upgrades half of its fleet. “”The cost of hardware has come down so much, and every year there’s more power, more performance in terms of what you can do,”” he said. “”So even though we upgrade more often, with the productivity you gain it’s worth it.””

Cooper said Intel is committed to the mobile segment because untethered devices allow users to accomplish several tasks at once. “”We focus on individual applications, but we can’t lose sight of the fact that workloads are increasing,”” he said. “”Consumers have really trained themselves to be multitaskers.””

Other vendors offering Pentium 4 Processor-M hardware include Acer America Corp., Fujitsu PC Corp., Sony Electronics Corp. and TTX Canada.


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